Fitbit makes fitness trackers, and now, a full-fledged smartwatch that you can make payments with it, thanks to a service called Fitbit Pay.
The Fitbit Ionic is Fitbit's first smartwatch. You can read all about the device from here. But if you want to know about its stand-out feature, Fitbit Pay, look no further. You see, Fitbit Ionic is also the first device from the company to bring mobile payments to your wrist. In other words, while you're out for a run, you can hop into a corner store to buy a water, without needing your wallet or phone.
Here's what you need to know about Fitbit Pay.
What is Fitbit Pay?
Ever hear of Apple Pay or Android Pay? (If not, go here and here, respectively.) Anyway, Fitbit Pay is basically the same thing; at launch, it's exclusive to Fitbit Ionic. Fitbit Pay, in a nut shell, is a mobile payment system that works with all contactless payment readers. A built-in NFC chip in the smartwatch allows you to make payments on the go, right from your wrist, so you can pay for a water, mid run.
Here's what Fitbit said about Ionic's NFC chip:
"Leave your wallet and phone at home and effortlessly pay for items right from your device, wherever contactless payments are accepted... The built-in NFC chip opens the opportunity to develop apps that provide keyless and cardless access to buildings, hotels, sporting venues, and transportation in the future."
How does Fitbit Pay work?
In theory, all you have to do is add your card, then go to a store, and hold your Ionic watch next to contactless reader at checkout.
Add your credit or debit card
According to Fitbit, you will be able to add eligible US American Express cards, as well as Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards from "top issuing banks in over 10 markets across the globe". Those banks include ANZ, Banco Santander, Bank of America, Capital One, HSBC, KBC Bank Ireland, OCBC Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, UOB, and US Bank. More countries and banks will be added soon.
Now, here's the thing: Although cards from American Express, Mastercard, and Visa are all compatible, you won't be able to use them unless your bank is supported. If they aren't, you won't be able to connect your card. Both Apple Pay and Android Pay have taken quite a while to get banks onboard with their respective mobile payment technologies, so it may take a while for your bank to be supported.
Also, because we're in early days territory, Fitbit hasn't yet explained how users will be able to add their cards. Once we know more information, we will update this piece with all the information you need to know, so keep checking back.
Go to a store
Fitbit Pay works anywhere that accepts contactless payments, which includes over a million stores. Just look for the contactless payments symbol near card readers during checkout. Now, although stores haven't announced that they will accept Fitbit Pay payments, the following US and UK stores accept contactless payments and work with Apple Pay as well as Android Pay:
- Starbucks, Babies-R-Us, Bloomingdales, Disney, Duane Reade, Macy's, McDonalds, Nike, Petco, Staples, Subway, Toys-R-Us, Unleashed, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Boots, Bill's, Dune, Waitrose, M&S, Wagamama, Nando's, Liberty, and Lidl
Note: Many more stores do as well; this is just a selection.
Which Fitbit devices work with Fitbit Pay?
Fitbit Pay only works with Fitbit Ionic at launch, though it may come to other devices in the future, such as the Charge 3 and Blaze 2.
When will Fitbit Pay launch?
Fitbit is expected to launch alongside the Fitbit Ionic in October 2017 in the US, UK, Australia, and other territories across the world.
Anything else you should know?
You won't need any other authentication, such as a fingerprint scan, but you might not be able to do large payments. In the UK, contactless payment transactions are often limited to £30, while some banks in the US limit it to $50. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.